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By Columnist Genevieve Whitson – Professional Cyclist 


Photo Credit: Tejvan Pettinger, 2010: Cycling

Most people think that in the winter months, you don’t need to do any interval training – it’s all about the base miles apparently with just a little bit of top end. But, you still need to keep the engine ticking over and keep your mindset in the off-season and throwing in some time trial efforts, and some short interval bursts into your endurance ride can make all the difference.

What Type of Interval Training is Ideal?

Generally, I recommend getting some intervals into your winter training regime at the end of Autumn onwards. These training sessions do not need to be at your max heart rate (it’s definitely too early for those). But, get in some functional threshold power (FTP). For example, train at around 70-80% of your FTP power output for 5 mins at a time. Do this a few times in a week. This regime will help keep your anaerobic engine ticking over so that your body and muscles don’t forget how to fire. Plus, this training will make it easier when you start racing again – your body will be more conditioned to the racing environment. Also, combining this training with an endurance base through the off-season, will give you a recipe for success and possible podium finishes.

Other Types of Interval Training

Another interval I’d recommend trying over winter includes a few efforts when you are climbing. You can do this in the bunch. Just move yourself to the front of the peloton when it’s time to go up a hill and dig a little deeper. It will give the rest of the bunch a workout, and after a few repeat efforts of this, your legs will be ready for the harder more intense intervals as the season starts. It’s also an excellent way to remind your ‘head’ that hills are your friend. Many cyclists loath climbing, but it really is just a matter of getting conditioned – maybe you are the next mountain goat waiting to be unleashed 🙂

Lastly, you can also have fun around town if you are limited time wise – sprinting to traffic lights is excellent, just remember to be safe and sensible about this! You can also sprint to markers around your local block, this will help to keep that anaerobic engine ticking over in the down time months.

About Our Cycling News and Review Columnist

Jarlath-Cross-20131-960x576_GenevieveGenevieve Whitson is a NZ born, British/Scottish cyclist, based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Gen has a raced at the highest level for Road, Cyclocross and Mountain biking, have competed in four World Championships, multiple World Cups as well as riding professionally on the road. Gen has raced all around the globe on the road bike and is currently riding for a Belgium team, Isorex competing in all the major spring classics.

Highlights of her career include gaining a top 30 finish at the World Cyclocross Championships, a stage win in a major USA road tour, and winning the 2015 Scottish National Hill Climb Champs. Gen also loves to ride a rickshaw in Edinburgh for strength training on the side and is heavily involved in supporting/mentoring up and coming female/male athletes to ride to their potential. Her mantra on the bike is: Eat the pain…

Disclaimer: The information published in this column is the author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.

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